Global Christian Forum convenes meeting with Middle East Christians
statement from consultation
Two weeks ago, on April 8-9, a Global Christian Forum-related consultation took place in Amman, Jordan. The primary purpose of the meeting, as is typical of Global Christian Forum meetings, was to bring to the same table a wide range of churches so that they can enter into or deepen relations with one another and consider facing common challenges together. The group assembled did indeed deal seriously with this agenda. But foremost upon participants’ minds was the present Middle East situation, including the shared circumstances of the Christians in the area. As a result, participants’ decided to draft an “Appeal” and requested the Global Christian Forum to send it to leaders of the global church.
The text of the Appeal follows, in its entirety:
As participants in the Global Christian Forum meeting held in Amman (8-‐‑9 April 2012) — bishops, priests, pastors, and lay people from all traditions of the Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical churches in the Middle East — we have exchanged perspectives on the situations of our churches. We have discussed promoting inter-‐‑Christian relationships as well as relationships with the co-citizens of our countries with whom we share the present, the future, and the same fate. We have considered at length the current critical situation in our region, with the imminent dangers that are threatening our people. We were particularly appalled by the horrific and bloody violence in Syria, the destruction, the displacement, and the dire circumstances of the victims of such violence. We were also deeply concerned about the recent events in Egypt, with all their repugnant sectarian tensions and undesirable consequences.
- We raise our voice and call upon our churches, church leaders and lay people to demonstrate the highest degree of wisdom and awareness during this difficult time, to remain rooted in faith, steadfast in hope, and established in love in order to overcome this critical period.
- We proclaim our solidarity with every human being who has suffered and suffers from political and social instability caused by violence, regardless of their religious, ethnic, social, and political identity.
- We call upon our brothers, sisters, and co-‐‑citizens to reject all forms of extremism and enmity, and to return to our shared human and spiritual values. We promise to strive firmly and to the limits of our capacity to lessen the agony of victims, to provide the aid needed for refugees inside and outside their homeland, as well as to support those in need, in cooperation with all components of society, particularly specialized governmental and non-‐‑governmental organizations.
- We urge those in charge to provide more efforts to insure the continuity of Christian presence in the Middle East by helping and encouraging people to remain in their own lands.
- We call upon the Global Christian Forum to show solidarity with Middle Eastern people in this critical period, by supporting their just causes, sounding the call to defend the victims and the oppressed, and contributing with all spiritual, moral, and financial means to help them remain in their own lands.We urge the churches and Christian communities participating in the Global Christian Forum to implore their societies, governments, institutions, and international assemblies to support Christian presence in the Middle East in partnership with other religions, to work to achieve full citizenship with equal rights and duties among all people, in accordance with international treaties and agreements, and within the framework of fair laws and truly modern democratic systems.
- Finally, we call upon the Christians of the Middle East to stand together as witnesses of the one Gospel—despite the plurality and variety of churches—and to fulfill their calling in this Middle East. Unity in plurality must be a distinctive mark of our Christian life and purpose. We plead to God for peace, justice, and stability in our world, especially in the Middle East, and we pray that Christians will remain in it as a living testimony for Christ, the One who is victorious over death.
Pastor Bahij Akeel, Jordan Baptist Convention, Jordan
Rev. Adib Awad, Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches, Lebanon/Syria
Rev. Fr. Antoine Assaf, Maronite Church of Antioch, Lebanon
Mr. Zahi Azar, World Student Christian Federation – Middle East Region, Lebanon
Ms. Wafa Goussous, Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, Jordan
Rev. Jiries Habash, Evangelical Free Church, Jordan
Rev. Fr. Gabriel Hachem, Greek Catholic Melkite Church of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, and
the Middle East Council of Churches, Lebanon
Pastor Mazen Halteh, Evangelical Nazarene Church, Jordan
Mrs. Rosangela Jarjour, Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches, Lebanon/Syria
Rev. Dr. Munir Kakish, Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, Holy Land
Rev. Fr. Hanna Mansour, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Jordan
H.G. Bishop Marcos, Coptic Orthodox Church, Egypt
Pastor Habes Nimat, Evangelical Christian Alliance Church, Jordan
Pastor Dikran Salbashian, Assemblies of God, Jordan
H.E. Archbishop Seraphim Kykkotis, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of
Alexandria and All Africa, Zimbabwe/Egypt
Rev. Dr. Imad Shahadeh, Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Jordan
Rev. Fr. Imad Twal, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Jordan
H.E. Metropolitan Vasilios, Church of Cyprus, Cyprus
Eng. Fouad Youssef, Evangelical Fellowship of Egypt, Egypt
Rev. Isak Zekry, Evangelical Presbyterian Church – Synod of the Nile, Egypt
Very Rev. Fr. Massis Zobouian, Armenian Apostolic Church – Catholicosate of Cilicia, Lebanon
Rev. Dr Larry Miller, Global Christian Forum, France
Dr. Dimitra Koukoura, Global Christian Forum, Greece
Mr. Hubert van Beek, Global Christian Forum, France/NL